Copa de Cava, London – UK’s first authentic Cava Bar

I love the idea of going to a champagne bar in London. Nothing beats the air of celebration we associate with the sound of a popping cork. And there’s something about the chinking of the long flutes and the fizz of champagne bubbles over your tongue that brings about an air of luxury.

But where can you find a Cava bar in London and does it even exist? The answer is Yes! After years of being classed the cheaper equivalent made for the masses, restaurateur Richard Biggs felt Cava deserved better. It deserved to be at the forefront of London’s sparkling wine bars. That’s why he’s opened Copa de Cava – the UK’s first authentic Cava bar in St Pauls. And as I found out last week, Cava is proving itself to be as equally refined as its French counterpart.

I went along to the bar preview ahead of tonight’s official opening and it they’ve certainly set the bar high for Cava venues.

I hobbled in my high heels down the cobbled street of Black Friars Lane to where Copa de Cava is positioned underneath Camino’s St Pauls ‘branch’ – Camino San Pablo.

Copa de Cava, St Pauls, LondonDown some steps and you’re standing under the convoluting brick vaults which give it tonnes of character and were chosen for their resemblance of Spanish ‘bodegas’ or wine cellars.

Dotted around the place are Spanish artefacts, wrought iron lamps and fixtures and dark wooden tables complimented with terracotta leather seats and an all round warm glow from the subtle lighting.

You have two sides to the venue – the bar, which serves an impressive 28 different cavas, (eight by the glass), and the open kitchen which is framed by fresh cheeses, hanging cured hams and an impressive display of seafood. I met ‘Nacho’ the culinary genius who helped design the menus across the Camino group. And from the Copa de Cava kitchen, the team of chefs create small pairing dishes which compliment the cava – perfect for that pre-dinner aperitif.

Copa de Cava tapas, St Pauls, London

The launch itself was great fun. A ‘timetable’ was pinned to the wall and every half hour or so I looked out for one of the roaming waitresses to come and top me up. If you weren’t sure what you were drinking, you just had to check your watch, look up to the timetable and there you had it – the description of your bubbles.

Here’s a list of what they offered:

– Vilarnau Brut
– Raventos I Blanc de Nit Rosado
– Reina Cristina 2010 Reserva
– Juve y Camps Cinta Purpura 2010 Reserva
– Mont Marcal 2010 Reserva
– Rioja Conde de Haro 2010 Reserva, Bodegas Muga
– Nuria Claverol 2004 Gran Reserva
– Recaredo 2003 Particular Gran Reserva
– Gramona 2002 Celler Batller Gran Reserva
– Vilarnau Semi Seco

Cava, Copa de Cava, St Pauls, LondonWhile we sipped our fizz and nibbled on the likes of serrano ham and bread sticks, Richard gave a speech, explaining how he wanted to end the ‘supermarket’ identity of Spanish sparkling wine.

He knows what he’s talking about when it comes to Sant Sadurní, Spain’s Cava country. Travelling through the region as a teenager, he fell in love with the region. Some years on his love for Spain has become his life and he now sources all his Cava from the Catalonian region of Penedès.

I loved the ‘bodega’ that is Copa de Cava and I nearly forgot to mention – aside from the amazing rustic interiors, exquisite Cava and mouthwatering Spanish flavours – if you need any more reason to visit this place, it would be to stand on the glass ‘floor’ which offers a peek into the actual cellar where the Cava is stored. I did try and take a picture but sadly it didn’t come out. So you’ll have to see it for yourself.

Champagne? Pah! It’s all about the Cava. Delicate, refreshing and in surroundings like these, I’m definitely sold.

Until next time x

Copa de Cava, 33 Black Friars Lane, London EC4V 6EP, 020 7125 0930

www.cava.co.uk / www.camino.uk.com